41 Best Things to Do in Alexandria: From Nature to Action (2024)

There are so many fun things to do in Alexandria, Virginia that you can spend weeks and months exploring it all.

If you’re looking enough to be close to Alexandria, you’ll be coming back regularly to enjoy the beauty, fun activities and events.

Summer season in Virginia with a beautiful green park and trees

There are so many beautiful parts of Alexandria to explore. Whether you enjoy the waterfront and people watching or prefer to walk in nature undistrubed, there are plenty of options for you.

Even the Alexandria transportation is fun can be fun from riding a water taxi to taking a cruise or riding on the free trolley (more on that below!).

Here we’ll share 40+ of the best things to do in Alexandria VA. You’re sure to find something great to do!

Things to Do in Alexandria
Source: Fairfax County Parks

#1 Huntley Meadows Park

3701 Lockheed Blvd, Alexandria, VA 22306 | Full Details

Huntley Meadows Park is a natural oasis right in the middle of Alexandria.

The best part of the park is the boardwalk that guides you right over the wetlands. While many people go to birdwatch, it’s common to see frogs, turtles, ducks and even small snakes up close.

It’s a shorter walk and a really great park for both kids and adults.

You’ll be amazed at how this quiet, natural place can exist right in the middle of the city. And you’ll likely be coming back again!

Look out for the special events that happen here from time to time.

See the trail map and full details here >>

Things to Do in Alexandria va
Source: NOVA Parks

#2 Great Waves Waterpark

4001 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304 | Full Details

Next on our list of fun things to do in Alexandria VA, is Great Waves Waterpark.

This is one of many fun water parks in Northern Virginia.

Located inside Cameron Run Regional Park, Great Waves Waterpark has a wave pool, splashpad, sprayground cascades, lagoon, water slides and more.

Beautiful Sitting Place in Green Spring Garden
Source: Green Spring Gardens

#3 Green Springs Gardens

4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria, VA 22312 | Full Details

Green Springs Gardens is such a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. If you’re visiting with kids, you must stop by the Children’s Discovery Garden.

There are:

  • Mailboxes naming the gardens
  • Colorful wind chimes
  • A teepee
  • A mosaic hopscotch
  • Edible garden
  • And more

There is also a family garden which scavenger hunt placards, shovels to dig in the dirt and even a wildlife garden with a small pond where you’re bound to see some wildlife like frogs or rabbits.

Things to Do in Alexandria Virginia
Source: Mount Purrnon Cat Café + Wine Bar

#4 Mount Purrnon Cat Café + Wine Bar

109 S Alfred St, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Website

Mount Purrnon is actually one of 6 cat cafes in the DC area.

Many people would argue there’s nothing much better than getting to snuggle some kitties while sipping on wine on a pleasant Saturday morning.

And that’s exactly what you get to do here at Mount Purrnon Cat Cafe.

They also have other food and beverages to enjoy. Plus, you can eat in the lounge and then head upstairs to hang with the cats.

Winkler Botanical Preserve in Alexandria
Photo By Karl Gercens

#5 Winkler Botanical Preserve

5400 Roanoke Ave, Alexandria, VA 22311 | Full Details

Winkler Botanical Preserve is a hidden gem in Alexandria.

The location is a bit hidden and is actually the site of a former pig farm. The park is a nice place to be in nature and see views of the lake with a man-made waterfall.

The trail is a 1.4 mile loop and you may spot some birds (we have spotted bald eagles here on several occasions) and other small wildlife along the way.

If you’d like to spend some time in nature where they won’t be many people if any and not have to travel far, this is your spot.

#6 Alexandria Archeological Museum

105 N Union St UNIT 327, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Full Details

The Alexandria Archeological Museum is makes for a short archaeology field trip for kids and adults. It showcases the history of community digs which started the City of Alexandria as it became a leader in preservation.

As as it’s located in the Torpedo Factory, when you’re done with your visit you can explore the rest of the center, take a walk along the boardwalk and grab a bite to eat on the water.

#7 Shadowland Family Entertainment Center

5508 Franconia Rd, Alexandria, VA 22310 | Website

Shadowland is a huge family entertainment center with many attractions like:

And no, this isn’t just for the kids. Adults enjoy ShadowLand too! It’s worth visiting for the entire family.

And if you’re looking for fun things to do in Maryland, they also have locations in Columbia and Gaithersburg.

Get Air Trampoline park
Source: Get Air Trampoline Park

#8 Get Air Trampoline Park

340 S Pickett St, Alexandria, VA 22304 | Website

Get Air is a really fun trampoline park in Alexandria. And there is more to do than just jump on trampolines.

You’ll find other fun attractions like:

  • Kiddie court (for the littlest ones)
  • Dodgeball
  • Foam pit
  • Ninja course
  • Slackline
  • Slamball
  • Fidget ladder

And if you don’t feel like playing with the kids, there are massage chairs to relax in.

#9 Alexandria Farmers Market

Alexandria has five farmer’s markets so you can find one available on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays every week.

In fact, Alexandria is home to one of the oldest farmer’s markets in the nation on Saturdays.

Each farmer’s market has a variety of vendors that sell typical fruits and vegetables plus other items like meat, cheese, breads, pastries, flowers, crafts and a lot more.

You’ll find the full list here.

Our Kids Recommendation: You cannot miss the old own farmers’ market that is open every Saturday since the 18th century.

#10 Chessie’s Big Backyard

6601 Telegraph Rd, Alexandria, VA 22310 | Website

Chessie’s Big Backyard located inside of Lee District Park is a wonderful playground to bring your kids. They have play areas separate by age groups so there is plenty of space for everyone.

They have a merry-go-round, spray park, nature trail, and obstacles.

kids experimenting on a project
Source: Fairfax County

The musical walking trail is also a lot of fun!

There is also a tree fort type of area as you walk so while you may struggle to get the kids away from the play area, make sure to leave time for the trail.

This playground is also accessible.

#11 Take a Stroll on the Waterfront

The waterfront in Old Town Alexandria is just a place you have to visit.

Stroll along the wonderful boardwalk with the best views of the Potomac River and Washington, DC. As you walk along the water, stop and enjoy the bars, restaurants and some of the best ice cream.

On the weekends especially, there is also live music.

Alexandria's King Street Trolley
Source: Wikipedia

#12 King Street Trolley

The King Street Trolley is a fun way to get around Old Town Alexandria and it’s free! The trolley is open 365 days a year and runs approximately every 15 minutes from 11:00am to 11:pm.

There are 20 stops to get you close to different shops, restaurants and attractions. See the full trolley map here.

#13 Sportrock Climbing Center

5308 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304 | Website

Sportrock is an 18,000 square foot indoor climbing center for bouldering and sports climbing.

There is even a 60-foot wall to try and climb!

Kids smiling at Sportrock
Source: Sportrock

They also have a gym, yoga studio and classes.

Sportrock was actually the first commercial climbing gym that opened in the DC area (all the way back in 1994!).

#14 Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream

103 S Union St, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Website

Ben and Jerry’s is located near the water front park so it’s a great place to grab some delicious ice cream before heading over to walk along the water.

Serving homemade, hormone-free ice cream, they have dairy and non-dairy options with flavors like:

  • Butter pecan
  • Strawberry cheesecake
  • Cherry garcia
  • Coconut seven layer bar
  • Chunky monkey
  • The tonight dough
  • Triple caramel chunk
  • And a whole lot more

They also offer sundaes, smoothies and shakes.

#15 Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center

5750 Sanger Ave, Alexandria, VA 22311 | Full Details

Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center is one of many local nature centers.

This is the place to go if you want to see lots of local live animals. This nature center has something for everyone and is great for the entire family.

Right outside the nature center is a 50-acre wildlife sanctuary.

See everything you can do here.

#16 Kidcreate Studio

724 Jefferson St, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Website

Kidcreate is an art studio that was built just for kids! The have children’s art classes, workshops, events and camps.

Child colouring at KidCreate Studio
Source: KidCreate Studio

You’ll find changing classes where kids can learn various art topics and work with different materials. Some topics you may see covered are:

  • Slime-tastic
  • Fairies and princesses
  • Jewel art
  • Dinomania
  • Sparkle spectacular
Source: National Park Service

#17 Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve

Alexandria, VA | Website

Have time for a day trip?

Dyke Marsh is a 380-acre freshwater wetland and wildlife preserve that runs along the Potomac River between Old Town Alexandria and Mount Vernon.

The Haul Road Trail goes through different types of habitats and is only 3/4 of a mile long. The trail is flat and is part gravel, part boardwalk.

Boats can also be rented to explore the marsh which is a lot of fun.

#18 Escape Room Live Alexandria

814 King St 2nd floor, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Website

Escape Room Live is a highly-rated escape room with great staff and great rooms.

They have 4 rooms to choose from with varying degrees of difficulty. You’ll find intricate puzzles and clues to make the experience fun.

The decor here is really great which really adds to the experience.

#19 Chinquapin Park Recreation Center

3210 King St, Alexandria, VA 22302 | Full Details

The Chinquapin Park Recreation Center has a lot to offer including:

  • 25-meter indoor pool
  • Nature trails & park
  • Tennis courts
  • Saunas
  • Fitness room
  • Racquetball courts
  • Sand volleyball courts
  • and more

Inside Chinquapin Recreation Center is also the Alexandria Soft Playroom which is covered in colorful soft mats with blocks, cubes, steps, slides, arches and a ball pit. The playroom is only for kids 5 and under.

#20 Cameron Run Regional Park

4001 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304 | Website

Cameron Run Regional Park is a 26-acre park in Alexandria with so much to do!

Run by the NOVA Parks agency, you can enjoy:

  • 18 holes of mini golf
  • Slowpitch and fastpitch batting cages
  • The slides & more fun at Great Waves Waterpark
  • Picnic shelters
  • Plenty of open space

In the winter they even have a Christmas lights display and ice skating at their Winter Village.

Source: Dora Kelley Nature Park

#21 Dora Kelley Nature Park

5750 Sanger Ave, Alexandria, VA 22311 | Website

Just outside the Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center, is Dora Kelley Nature Park.

The park is a 50-acre wildlife sanctuary with a one-mile long paved nature trail that meanders along streams, wooded hills, and freshwater marshland. In the spring, this is a beautiful place to see wildflowers as well.

kids birthday party being celebrated at Dora Kelly Park
Source: Visit Alexandria

It’s definitely a great way to escape the city and explore nature.

#22 The Dairy Godmother

2310 Mt Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301 | Website

The dairy godmother is a retro-style parlor with unique flavors of frozen custard and sorbet, all handmade.

They have a variety of flavors of sorbet that change daily. Vanilla and chocolate frozen custard is available every day, as well as a unique flavor of the day.

Some of the rotating daily flavors have included:

  • Lava flow
  • Cereal milk
  • Lucky Mint
  • Mozambique
  • Lemon chip
  • Drumstick
  • Maple crunch
  • Pineapple upside down cake

And many, many more. 

They also offer treats especially made for dogs that are made from plain yogurt, peanut butter and eiither pumpkin or banana puree. 

#23 The Spite House

523 Queen Street in Alexandria, VA

Hollensbury Spite House In Alexandria is only 7 ft wide and often referred to as the skinniest house in the nation.

Built in 1830, this blue house is only about 25 ft deep and only has 325 square feet split between two levels. 

The Spite House

It’s called the spite house, because the house was built out of spite. The original owner built it to keep horse-drawn wagons and loiterers out of his alley.  So the living room walls are simply the brick walls of the adjacent houses. 

It’s a fun house just to see and take a picture of when you’re in the area.

#24 Schuyler Hamilton Jones Skateboard Park

Bring your skateboards and head to the Schuyler Hamilton Jones Skateboard Park.

While on the smaller side, the skate park is great for beginners.

You won’t find a bowl but there are many ramp variations, a halfpipe and other obstacles. Plus there is plenty of flat surface to move around. 

Source: Scramble

#25 Scramble

5412 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304 | Full Details

Is one of the area’s indoor playground and kids have so much fun here! The nice part for the parents is that it is pretty easy to find your kids through the mesh walls of the play areas.

They do sell food and kids snacks if you didn’t bring any with you.

The kids absolutely love it here and it’s always a challenge to get them to leave. 

Adults are also welcome to play in the play areas and if not they have comfortable seating and free, high-quality Wi-Fi available. 

Find out more about what to expect at Scramble here.

#26 Ben Brenman Park

4800 Brenman Park Dr, Alexandria, VA 22304 | Website

Ben Brenman Park is a wonderful place to watch the birds, ducks, turtles and more as you cross the bridged walkway over the water.

There is a beautiful lake that has a bridge walkway to cross over. You’ll find a gazebo in the middle where you can stop and watch for wildlife. 

Across the bridge you’ll also find:

  • A dog park
  • Benches
  • Picnic tables
  • A nice playground
  • Volleyball, soccer and baseball fields
  • Paved and gravel walking trails

What more can you ask for? 

#27 UpCycle Creative Reuse Center

5380-D Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22304 | Full Details

Upcycle creative ReUse Center is such a fun place to create art out of recycled Goods.

This is not only a good way the teach the family about art, it’s also a great way to remind ourselves how to be more resourceful, use what we have and create less waste in the world. 

They also take donations and they have so many great materials to use like fabric, paper, tiles, containers, paint, crafting tools, yarn and pretty much anything else you have in mind.

But they have lots of great kids activities and workshops. There are also events and programs for adults too! 

This is a great indoor activity or even somewhere fun to come on a rainy day. 

#28 Walk or Ride the Wilkes Street Tunnel

398 Wilkes St, Alexandria, VA 22314

The Wilkes Tunnel is a neat piece of Alexandria’s history.

It’s really fun to walk through or ride your bike through and this is also a popular place for a photoshoot in Alexandria. The tunnel has a whole other feel to it at night.

The tunnel spans about 170-ft and it dates back to the 1800s. It was previously used during the Civil War as of Railway passage between DC and Richmond.

#29 Try Non-Traditional Sports at Urban Evolution

5505 Cherokee Ave, Alexandria, VA 22312 | Website

Urban Evolution is a great place to learn some skills that you won’t find taught in many other places. 

They are all about movement and use non-traditional sports so you have fun and forget that you’re working out.

Some of the classes include:

  • Parkour
  • Circus skills
  • Tricking / Freerunning
  • Aerial acrobatics
  • Hip hop dance
  • Juggling
  • And more 

The classes are tailored to the students and very welcoming with highly knowledgeable staff. 

#30 Visit Jones Point Light and Jones Point Park

Jones Point Dr, Alexandria, VA 23242 | Website

On the Potomac River, Jones Point Park is just south of Old Town Alexandria. 

This used to be one of the largest centers for shipping, manufacturing and transportation in the entire United States.

The park is also home to Jones Point Lighthouse which was built in 1855 and it’s the last riverine lighthouse in the state.

So what is there to do at Jones Point Park? 

  • Walk the gravel interpretive Trail to learn more about the Park’s history
  • See the freshwater Marsh habitat
  • Enjoy the to fishing piers 
  • Bring your canoe or kayak and hit the water
  • Enjoy one of 2 playgrounds
  • Play a game of basketball
  • Or attend one of the parks event like learn to ride (where kids can learn to ride their bike) and lighthouse life 
Source: City Experiences

#31 Take a cruise on the Potomac River

Being that part of Alexandria runs alongside the Potomac River, taking a water taxi and even a river cruise is such a fun way to enjoy the area.

There are a number of great companies that will take you and you can decide how much time you want to spend on the water. From a few minutes on a water taxi to a multiple hour dinner cruise. Or even a narrated cruise that offers some sightseeing and photo opps.

Some companies to consider are Spirit of Mount Vernon by City Cruises, City Cruises Alexandria Water Taxi and Potomac Riverboat company.

#32 Take a Guided Tour at the Apothecary Museum

105-107 S Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Website

The Apothecary Museum is a historic apothecary shop that has been preserved.

Her family who owned it was forced to close down due to a sharp decline in sales during the Great Depression.

This museum showscases one of Alexandria’s oldest continuously run businesses. 

Being a National Historic Landmark, this museum has many neat things to see from the past including:

  • Herbal Botanicals
  • Hand blown glass
  • Medical equipment
  • Journals, prescription and formula books
  • Ledgers, orders and invoices 

Harry Potter fans, you can even take speciality tours like a Harry Potter themed tour!

#33 Torpedo Factory Art Center

105 N Union St, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Website

What used to be a US Naval torpedo station was converted into what is now The Torpedo Factory Art Center in 1974. 

The Torpedo Factory is actually the nation’s largest community of working artists. 

Every time you visit can be a different experience as you can see different artwork and even different artists actively working on their latest piece.

There is a variety of art such as paintings, sculptures, jewelry and a whole lot more.

The factory itself is actually quite large and spans over 3 floors full of artist studios. 

You’ll find a lot of artwork for sale and it’s really neat to be able to meet some of the artists directly and talk to them about their pieces (and if you’re lucky see it being created). 

Keep an eye out for fun art classes too.

#34 Relax by Kingstowne Lake

6545 Grange Ln, Alexandria, VA 22315

Kingstowne Lake is a lesser-known lake where you can escape into nature and get grounded without having to interact with a lot of people.

The beautiful lake has wildlife and asphalt walking trails. There’s also a lot of shade and the trail itself is about three-quarters of a mile around. 

This is a perfect place to go for a short walk with the family and the dog.

You’ll feel like you’re more in a natural preserve when you see all the life here including fish, turtles, geese and ducks.

The kids definitely enjoy the little wooden bridges throughout. 

#35 Paint This!

1013 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Website

Paint This! Is an adorable Studio that you can paint your own ceramic pottery and glass.

And there is so much to choose from including:

  • Kitchen and dinnerware
  • Figures
  • Boxes
  • Vases
  • Planters
  • Frames
  • And a lot more

No need to bring anything with you, they have all the brushes, tools and materials you need including over 150 colors to choose from. 

They also offer mosaic projects including mirrors, picture frames and different plaques.

#36 Enjoy One of the Many Wonderful Parks

Alexandria is home to so many wonderful parks so you always have a different one to choose from! These are the best places to spend an entire day with your family.

Take for instance Potomac Yard Park which has a wonderful playground for the kids, splash pads in the summers, mommy and baby swings, wheelchair accessible play areas and a maz.

There is also other nearby parks to enjoy like:

  • Windmill Hill Park with riverfront views, a playground and athletic courts
  • Hayfield Community Park has a small green area with a playground
  • Pole Road Park offers a walk along the water and lots of nature
  • Wickford Park has a nice playground with a rope tour, picnic area and basketball court
  • McCutcheon Park is a 17-acre park with trails, open space and a playground
  • Collingwood Park has multiple sport fields, tennis and basketball courts, a playground and trails
  • Riverside Park is a great place to walk, bike or bring a picnic to with great views of the water
  • Parkhurst park is a quiet community park in the back of a nice neighborhood. The park is great for kids with sand boxes, swings, slides, climbing wall, unique structures and more.
Source: George Washington’s Mount Vernon

#37 George Washington’s Mount Vernon

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121 | Website

Mount Vernon is the former plantation of the first president of the United States. The property runs along the Potomac River.

You’ll find the mansion well preserved and tour guides will take you through while educating you on the American history and answering your questions. 

Source: Mount Vernon

They also have a museum with lots of interesting historic items. The entire experience is great for all ages.

There is also a souvenir shop and a restaurant is also on-site. 

After the tour, enjoy a nature walk outside and bring a picnic to enjoy in the open space.

#38 Fort Ward Museum and Park

4301 W Braddock Rd, Alexandria, VA 22304 | Website

Fort Ward Park is the 5th largest fort built to defend Washington DC during the American Civil War. Ninety percent of the original walls are still there and well-preserved which is amazing to see.

This historic site also has a small museum with artifacts and is very informative. 

The park itself, while in the middle of the city, is a nice place to walk with a walking path and includes a bridge, picnic areas, some grills and even a small, historic cemetery. There is also an amphitheater on site. 

#39 Enjoy Free Outdoor Concerts

Free outdoor concerts and performances can be found throughout the city, espeically during the summer.

For instance, at Grist Mill Park in Alexandria hosts Mount Vernon Nights that has a variety of musical performances during the summer.

Lee Distric Park also hosts Lee District Nights which has free concerts to different kinds of music including: latin, jazz, bluegrass and vintage rock n’ roll.

Source: Ice & Lights Winter Village

#40 See the Holiday Lights

Every year we all look forward to seeing all of the holiday light displays in the area.

Alexandria is home to some great light displays including:

  • The Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights at the Alexandria City Marina
  • The Alexandria Tree Lighting Ceremony
  • And Ice & Lights Winter Village
Source: nps.gov

Alexandria also has other fun holiday events like the Water Skiing Santa that visits the Old Town Waterfront.

#42 See a Show at The Little Theatre

600 Wolfe St, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Website

The Little Theatre of Alexandria is one of the best community theatres you’ll find in this area.

The theatre itself is small so every seat in the house is a good one.

Despite it’s size, they put on some amazing performances. The actors are top notch and the sstage design is always high quality.

If you’re looking for a high quality show locally at a smaller cost than some of the bigger theatres, this is your spot.

Things to Do in Alexandria

Although not directly in Alexandria, if you’re looking for another great nature spot, Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm is only 15-minutes from Alexandria and is a great place to learn about historic farming and see animals.

As you can see there is so many amazing things to do in Alexandria, Virginia that everyone can find something to do any day of the week.

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OK Editorial Team

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